TUESDAY
29 JAN 2013

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Q&A: FRIGHTENED RABBIT
Having released those first three records through indie label FatCat, the band then signed to Warner/Atlantic in November 2010. On 4 Feb, the band's first major label album, 'Pedestrian Verse', will be unleashed. Later the same month the band will head out on a rapidly selling out tour of the UK. Before all of that kicked off, CMU's Andy Malt spoke to Hutchinson about the new album, his views on Mumford & Sons, and the future of the music industry more>>
 
APPROVED: MILK MUSIC
Devo had a gut one, and the Black Eyed Peas had a very approximate one. New in a grand lineage of artists singing about 'feelings', it's Milk Music and their new track 'I've Got A Wild Feeling'. It bears the claw-prints of a bonelike Dinosaur Jr relic in its scrawly, near-derelict guitars. But thus-mussed as it is, this isn't any old junk - nor new junk strutting as such. Lyric by lyric and lick by lick, it sounds like something that felt really real (and wild) to the band at the time, and most likely still does more>>


TOP STORIES
- Arrests made in investigation into Brazilian club fire
- Indies hit out at all new MySpace
IN THE POP COURTS
- Rick Ross escapes drive-by shooting
REUNIONS & SPLITS
- Destiny's Child not performing at the Super Bowl, says Williams
RELEASE NEWS
- Azealia Banks now planning just one single to placate waiting fans
- New LP from the Haxan Cloak confirmed
FILMS & SHOWS NEWS
- Elton John working on musical for children
GIGS & TOURS NEWS
- The Who to tour Quadrophenia
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs announce shows
FESTIVAL NEWS
- Festival line-up update
BRANDS & STUFF
- Taylor Swift to flog Diet Coke
THE MUSIC BUSINESS
- CD sales rise in Japan in 2012, but digital future still key
- Indie label community steps up global efforts
- EDM community launches new trade organisation
- PRS alliance with Nordics on mechanicals now fully launched
- Eventim alliance with SMG Europe goes live
THE DIGITAL BUSINESS
- Rdio announces free streaming option in UK
- MIDEM announcements: Webdoc, Nokia, Samsung, Soundrop
AND FINALLY...
- Bieber shares romantic heartbreak through lovely lyrics
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ARRESTS MADE IN INVESTIGATION INTO BRAZILIAN CLUB FIRE
Police in Brazil have made three arrests in relation to the club fire that killed 230 people this weekend. It is thought that the three men arrested include the owners of the venue destroyed in the fire, and possibly members of the band playing when the fire occurred. A fourth man, thought to be another owner of the club, is also wanted by police. Though officers stressed that the arrests so far were for "investigative purposes".

As previously reported, a fire destroyed the Kiss Club in the Brazilian city of Santa Maria, in the country's Southern-most region of Rio Grande do Sul. As with similarly tragic club fires in recent years, including that in 2003 in Rhode Island, it is thought the blaze was started by pyrotechnics on stage, and spread quickly when soundproofing materials caught fire.

Reports suggest that, as materials in the club started to burn, toxic fumes spread, adding to the death toll. Eyewitnesses also say that fire extinguishers in the venue didn't work, and that the evacuation of the building was hindered because security guards - not realising what was happening inside - wouldn't let people leave the club before they had settled their tabs, the venue seemingly operating a special card-payment system.

Amongst those quoted about the incident in local media was guitarist Rodrigo Martins, whose band Gurizada Fandangueira was playing at the time of the fire. He told Radio Gaucha: "We had played around five songs when I looked up and noticed the roof was burning. It might have happened because of the Sputnik, the machine we use to create a luminous effect with sparks. When the fire started, a guard passed us a fire extinguisher, and our singer tried to use it but it wasn't working".

Funerals began yesterday for some of those who died in the fire. Because the club was hosting a student event, most of those who died were aged between sixteen and 20.

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INDIES HIT OUT AT ALL NEW MYSPACE
Having been left out of the party in the early days of digital by the likes of Apple, YouTube and MySpace, the indie labels have experience in dealing with tech types who preach independent spirit while concurrently screwing the musical independents, but since the bigger indies launched digital rights agency Merlin such cold treatment from digital start-ups has become much rarer.

But then MySpace got bought by some advertising guys, who are relying on Justin Timberlake for music business insights, and the all new music-at-its-heart version of the former social network launched earlier this month without Merlin on board. And then MySpace management told the Merlin labels who discovered their content was still on the relaunched site, despite the lack of a licence, to submit their takedown notices for each rogue track they find.

Which is why the new look MySpace - keen to re-establish itself as a platform for new artists looking to engage fans - was very much enemy number one at a meeting of indie labels at MIDEM in Cannes yesterday. In fact, it felt like 2003 all over again, with Alison Wenham of the Association Of Independent Music and World Independent Network on top form.

According to MusicAlly, the AIM chief said of the new MySpace: "There is an impression, a complacence, and I would suggest an arrogance which is offensive, that you do deals with the majors, and the independent sector should be somehow grateful for the promotional value that these services will apparently bring to your artists and to you. If you follow that to its logical conclusion, all your activities would be promotional benefit".

On MySpace's seeming nonchalance towards its non-deal with Merlin, and the continued presence of Merlin label content on its platform, while also noting that's its not entirely clear what happened to the majors' equity stakes in the old MySpace Music subsidiary when News Corp sold the digital firm to Specific Media (ie are Sony, Universal and Warner shareholders in the new MySpace?), Wenham continued: "It's absolutely repugnant to the spirit of cooperation and the balancing of interests commercially that this should have been MySpace's response".

So, take that Timberlake, and get your digital house in order before you try to reclaim your seat on planet pop. Read more about the indie labels' MySpace wrath in MusicAlly's full report from MIDEM here.

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RICK ROSS ESCAPES DRIVE-BY SHOOTING
A car in which rapper Rick Ross and his girlfriend Shateria L. Moragne-el were travelling was fired on in a drive-by shooting yesterday morning, according to reports.

The couple asked not to be named in official statements on the incident, but eyewitnesses and (it seems) unnamed police sources have confirmed their identities. Although no one was injured, and the car, a Rolls Royce, was also unscathed, the windows of several nearby businesses were hit by bullets.

The shooting took place in Fort Lauderdale, where Ross has reportedly recently bought a house. Last year he denied claims that he had cancelled a number of gigs due to gang threats.

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DESTINY'S CHILD NOT PERFORMING AT THE SUPER BOWL, SAYS WILLIAMS
So, one, Destiny's Child released a new best of compilation this week, complete with their first new song for eight years. And two, Beyonce is booked to perform at the Super Bowl this Sunday.

It therefore doesn't take the wildest imagination to assume that this means the group will have a little live reunion at the big sporting event. But this is not so says Michelle Williams. She has other plans already.

The singer told WRUG Radio: "That's not confirmed. It is rumoured. I'm gonna be in the musical 'Fela!' I hate to disappoint the people and tell them that it's not true".

This almost certainly means it is true. Watch the interview here.

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AZEALIA BANKS NOW PLANNING JUST ONE SINGLE TO PLACATE WAITING FANS
One of our CMU Artists Of The Year 2012, Azealia Banks, is to push her debut LP, 'Broke With Expensive Taste' - which is still sans a release date, by the way - into the population's faces via an official new single.

After a "BIG CHANGE OF PLANS" (Banks initially said she'd release two tracks, 'Miss Amor' and 'Miss Camaraderie') it'll be titled 'Yung Rapunxel', and features "prod" by "seapunk" DJ Lil Internet. Seapunk, I ask you.

'Yung Rapunxel' has been given a provisional buy-date of 12 Feb, so add that to your diary, if you like. In pencil. Very lightly.

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NEW LP FROM THE HAXAN CLOAK CONFIRMED
London-based label Tri-Angle Records has revealed it'll release 'Excavation', the new LP by minimalist instrumentalist The Haxan Cloak - real name Bobby Krlic.

The sequel to Krlic's eponymous 2011 debut, it's defined as a deathly abstraction of "an archetypal Heaven or Hell scenario", and is - apparently - "awash with serrated beats and cavernous sub-bass, meshing with the classical drones and ghostly details The Haxan Cloak fans will have already been accustomed to".

So, something for us all. Especially noose fans.

'Excavation' will arrive in shops and tombs on 15 Apr. In the interim, its tracklisting and a SoundCloud play of new track 'The Mirror Reflecting (Part 2)' are freely available to all parties/ghouls:

Consumed
Excavation (Part 1)
Excavation (Part 2)
Mara
Miste
The Mirror Reflecting (Part 1)
The Mirror Reflecting (Part 2)
Dieu
The Drop

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ELTON JOHN WORKING ON MUSICAL FOR CHILDREN
Elton John is working on a children's musical, his partner David Furnish has told Hello! Magazine. And later this year he will also begin filming his previously reported biopic, 'Rocketman'.

Furnish told the publication: "Later this year we begin filming 'Rocketman', a biopic of Elton's early life. Towards the end of the year we are also planning to open a children's musical on Broadway".

So there you go. Furnish and John recently became parents for the second time, when their second son Elijah was born to a surrogate mother.

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THE WHO TO TOUR QUADROPHENIA
The Who will mark it being 30 years since 'Quadrophenia' was first released by playing a number of special shows this summer. Not only will Daltrey, Townshend and co reprise the 1973 LP in its entirety, they'll also add lots of archive classics to the end of the set.

Pete Townshend, who claims he has no idea what those archive classics are going to be, says: "Roger and I now stand almost alone together, representing not only the original band, but also its mod audience, and of course all our other early fans. We are connected by it, in what is the most clear cut prayer for redemption, and it feels like an acknowledgment that rock music has managed to deal with the highest emotional challenge: spiritual desperation".

Ah, that's nice. And now, the dates:
8 Jun: Dublin, O2 Arena
10 Jun: Belfast, Odyssey
12 Jun: Glasgow, SECC
15 Jun: London, O2 Arena
18 Jun: Sheffield, Motorpoint Arena
20 Jun: Newcastle, Metro Arena
23 Jun: Manchester Arena
25 Jun: Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
28 Jun: Birmingham, LG Arena
30 Jun: Liverpool Echo Arena

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YEAH YEAH YEAHS ANNOUNCE SHOWS
Thrice-affirmative Brooklyn band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who yesterday confirmed they'd be hosting and playing atop ATP's springtime festival I'll Be Your Mirror (4-5 May), have also promised to play a couple of additional British shows.

As noted earlier this month, the band are all set to release new record 'Mosquito' on 15 Apr. Anyway, I digress. Back to the live dates, tickets for which are on pre-sale now via www.yeahyeahyeahs.com:

1 May: Manchester, Apollo
2 May: Leeds, Academy

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
So, while London's Camden Crawl is shifting back to an autumn slot in the festival calendar, its newish Dublin spin-off Camden Crawl Dublin has been confirmed for 3-5 May. But what else is changing in the Euro FLUU scenery?

Well, Glasgow has gained a series of new live shows under the banner Summer Sessions. The first of said shows will feature obscure Detroit MC Eminem, who was last seen in Scotland when he played T In The Park back in 2010. Other artists appearing on other dates, plus the dates themselves, will be published - says "delighted" GSS boss Geoff Ellis - "soon".

All Tomorrow's Parties has also invited Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Grizzly Bear to co-host its two-day I'll Be Your Mirror festival in May. RSVP-ing on request so far are Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Walkmen, Black Lips, Real Estate and Cass McCoombs, with extra guests still tba.

And finally, it's to the Isle Of Wight Festival, which has made space on its Stone Roses, Killers, Bon Jovi and Happy Mondays-headlined billing for the reunion no one was calling for, that of The Boomtown Rats, who'll be playing their first set as a band since 1986.

"Playing again with The Rats and doing those great songs again will be exciting afresh", intones frontman Bob Geldof, adding: "We were an amazing band and I just feel it's the right time to re-Rat, to go back to Boomtown for a visit". 'Visiting Boomtown' just about works, Bob. 'Re-Rat' not so much. You might want to work on that before June.

Anyway, let's now to a look at today's total collation of FLUUs - as also features new additions to Belgium's Rock Werchter, the Tewksbury-set Lakefest, and Dutch dance happening Lente Kabinet:

ATP'S I'LL BE YOUR MIRROR, Alexandra Palace, London, 4-5 May: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grizzly Bear, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Van Dyke Parks, Black Lips, The Walkmen, Tortoise, Anika, The Field, Real Estate, I Break Horses, Dirty Beaches, Cass McCombs, King Khan & The Shrines, Mick Harvey. www.atpfestival.com

BEARDED THEORY, Kedleston Hall Park, Derby, 17-19 May: Stiff Little Fingers. www.beardedtheory.co.uk

GLASGOW SUMMER SESSIONS, Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, Scotland, 20 Aug: Eminem. www.gigsinscotland.com

ISLE OF WIGHT, Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, 13-16 Jun: Boomtown Rats. www.isleofwightfestival.com

LAKEFEST, Croft Farm Waterpark, Tewksbury, 9-11 Aug: Ocean Colour Scene, The Beat, Duke Special, Arthur Brown, Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun, Wille and The Bandits, Ruffanti, Gaz Brookfield, Frazer Kennedy, Funmilayo. lakefest.co.uk

LENTE KABINET, Het Twiske, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1 Jun: Four Tet Floating Points, Levon Vincent, Jacques Greene, Boddika, Soul Clap, Mala In Cuba, Bicep, Casper Tielrooij, Malawi, Metro Area, Oneman v Jackmaster, Steffi v Prosumer, Thomas Martojo, Tom Trago. www.hetkabinetfestival.nl

ROCK WERCHTER, Rotselaar, Belgium, 4-7 Jul: Sigur Rós, Bloc Party, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Two Door Cinema Club, The Script, Phoenix, Jessie Ware, C2C, Richard Hawley, Graveyard, Disclosure, Django Django, A Day To Remember, Band of Horses, Passenger, Asaf Avidan, Alt-J, Of Monsters And Men, Airbourne, Netsky. www.rockwerchter.be/en

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TAYLOR SWIFT TO FLOG DIET COKE
Coke in the US has confirmed a "long term partnership" has been struck up with Taylor Swift, because, you know, you can't eat pizza without a can of Diet Coke. Swift will appear in TV, print and online advertising peddling the fizzy syrup this spring.

Says Coke's Katie Bayne: "Taylor's unmatched business savvy, talent and drive to succeed are an inspiration to everyone. She's an extraordinary individual and a wonderful symbol of achievement. Taylor tells us that every day Diet Coke plays a small part in helping her stay extraordinary. It's one of the many reasons she's the ideal partner to represent our brand".

Meanwhile Swift has assured us all of the crucial role Diet Coke plays in her life, revealing: "I've said for years that Diet Coke just 'gets me' and my lifestyle". Which finally explains the big Taylor Swift/Harry Styles split - he's a Pepsi Max boy for certain.

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CD SALES RISE IN JAPAN IN 2012, BUT DIGITAL FUTURE STILL KEY
Oh Japan, you contrary music market you. According to the Recording Industry Association Of Japan, labels in the Japanese market saw CD shipments rise year-on-year in 2012, with the number of units shipped up 9%. Didn't Japanese music fans get the memo that CDs are in terminal decline?

According to local trade mag McClureMusic, this is the first time CD shipments increased year-on-year since 1998. Though, of course, physical music sales overall are still significantly down on the 1990s, and the growth in sales in 2012 has been put down to just three releases, and in particular CDs sales generated by the local girl group franchise phenomenon that is AKB48.

As previously reported, when it comes to digital Japan is someway behind Europe and North America, mainly due to local labels that are both powerful and digitally resistant. To date the most successful digital services in Japan have been mobile-based though, just as mobile music is taking off elsewhere in the world, sales in that domain were down in Japan last year.

Labels in the Japanese market will now likely be hoping that those digital services that have prospered in Europe can finally gain some traction there too. Sony Music Japan finally licensed its catalogue to Apple's iTunes in the country last year, and launched its Sony Music Unlimited streaming service too.

Other subscription platforms are now also plotting Japanese launches, label licenses permitting, with both Spotify and Rdio thought to be getting close to launching there. Indeed Spotify is recruiting for its Tokyo office as we speak.

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INDIE LABEL COMMUNITY STEPS UP GLOBAL EFFORTS
The globally-focused indie labels grouping the Worldwide Independent Network yesterday announced the formation of a global council made up of key independent music players in a bid to add "weight and authority to WIN's global stature". The new council was unveiled at MIDEM in Cannes as the body also published a new manifesto which, it says, "sets out a clear view of the basic, unchanging beliefs and values which together bind the global independent music sector".

The new initiatives follow a dramatic year for the independent domain, which saw its two biggest rivals, Universal Music and Sony Music, both significantly enlarged through their respective acquisition of the EMI record company and music publishing business. Officially the indie sector opposed both acquisitions, though some key players in the independent community broke rank, especially once Universal chief Lucian Grainge made promises to sell off a chunk of EMI's label assets in Europe to independent players.

Nevertheless, the new global council and manifesto reunites indie chiefs from both sides of the debate on the EMI issue, with one of the most prominent independent bosses, certainly in the UK, Beggars' Martin Mills telling CMU: "These days independents offer a very different route to market to artists than the majors do - and it's great to have that down in words, and to spell out what matters to us".

The inaugural WIN council is as follows:

Michael Gudinski, Mushroom (Australia)
Michel Lambot, PIAS (Belgium)
Stephan Bourdoiseau, Wagram (France)
Emmanuel de Buretel, Because (France)
Mark Chung, Freibank (Germany)
Oke Gottlich, Finetunes/VUT (Germany)
Florian Von Hoyer, Altafonte (Spain)
Jonas Strostrom , Playground (Sweden/Scandinavia)
Laurence Bell, Domino (UK)
Doug D'Arcy, Songlines (UK)
Daniel Miller, Mute (UK)
Martin Mills, Beggars (UK)
Daniel Glass, Glassnote (US)
Jim Selby, Naxos (US)
Darius Van Arman, Jagjaguwar/Secretly Canadian (US)

Meanwhile, the WIN Independent Manifesto reads thus...

1. We, the independents, will work to grow the value of music and the music business. We want equal market access and parity of terms with Universal, Warner and Sony, and will work with them in areas where we have a common goal. We will work to ensure that all companies in our sector are best equipped to maximise the value of their rights.

2. We support creators' freedom to decide how their music may be used commercially, and we will encourage individual artists and labels to speak out directly against unauthorised uses of music as well as commercial uses of music that stifle that freedom. We support creators' right to earn a living from their work, which should be respected as a basic human right.

3. We support independent music labels that treat their artists as partners and who work with them on reasonable commercial terms, noting that labels are investors who deserve a fair return alongside their artists.

4. We promote transparency in the digital music market; artists and companies are entitled to clarity on commercial terms.

5. We oppose further consolidation in the recorded music, publishing and radio sectors since this is bad for independent music companies, their artists and fans, as it reduces market access and consumer choice.

6. We support initiatives which confront market abuse, and which aim to adapt competition laws to promote independent market access and foster collective responses by independents to potentially anti-competitive conduct by large operators.

7. We recognise that all independent music businesses contribute to local culture, diversity, jobs and export opportunities, and multiply the economic success of related industries. We will ask governments to promote and support the independent music sector in securing access to finance and tax credits, and to local and international markets.

8. We hold that collecting society revenues must be allocated and distributed accurately and transparently. This includes distribution of unclaimed money that logically belongs to the independents. We will push for the independent sector to be formally represented in the governance of collecting societies, with trade associations being eligible for board seats.

9. We support the creation of a worldwide track-level sound recording rights database, subject to neutral governance and ownership, to ensure accurate distribution of rights revenues to their rightful owners.

10. The independents will, as always, actively encourage and support new commercial opportunities for music, and will continue to support and develop new, legitimate business structures and partnerships.

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EDM COMMUNITY LAUNCHES NEW TRADE ORGANISATION
Well, if there's one thing the music industry needs, it's definitely another trade body. I mean, at last count we were down to 24 here in the UK.

Although for a brief moment on Sunday morning in Cannes it did feel like we should abolish them all, and instead form an orderly queue behind the mighty Martin Mills, our compassionate and impassioned yet forceful leader, as he delivered a call to arms in the form of his Billboard Icon Award acceptance speech.

But then someone pointed out that Martin had a record company to run and didn't have time to single-handedly fight the dark forces of the digital world (aka Google), so that plan had to be abandoned. But worry not, we can still rely on AA-ABO-AFO-AIF-AIM-ASTA-BASCA-BPI-CPA-ERA-FAC-FMS-ISM-MIA-MMF-MPA-MPG-MU-NAA-PPL-PRS-PSA-STAR-UK Music to fight our various corners.

Or perhaps not if you happen to be working in that recently expansive suburb of Pop City called EDM, because the dance community - presumably reckoning their interests aren't fully represented by the aforementioned 24 music industry organisations (and their counterparts worldwide) - yesterday launched The Association For Electronic Music. And it'll be an interesting grouping, bringing together as it does agents, promoters, retailers, labels and managers, operating at both the corporate and grass roots end of the market, united by their genre specialism.

The founding board of advisors for the new "global advocacy and lobbying group" includes Beatport's Matthew Adell, Cream/Live Nation's James Barton, Insomniac's Carlos Correal, Positiva's Jason Ellis, Little Empire Music's Stephanie LaFera, WME's David Levy, CAA's Maria May, Big Beat's Liz Miller, AM Only's Paul Morris, Ultra/Sony's Patrick Moxey, Armada Music's Maykel Piron, ID&T's Duncan Stutterheim, ATM Artists' Amy Thomson, IBZ Entertainment's Danny Whittle, the Windish Agency's Tom Windish and John Truelove. Meanwhile legendary producer Nile Rodgers, currently working with Daft Punk, will serve as the first AFEM Ambassador.

The new organisation is being coordinated by manager Ben Turner, who has already been busy uniting the EDM community for a few years now via his International Music Summit in Ibiza, and entertainment lawyer Kurosh Nasseri, who has specialised in the electronic music genre for two decades. With a global focus, the new body will have offices in the US and UK at launch.

Commenting on the new organisation, and their motivation to set it up, Nasseri told CMU: "This is an historic day, the launch of the first international trade body representing a single genre since the Country Music Association began in 1958. Our motivation is wholly positive - to ensure electronic music gets the recognition and status it deserves. It is time for the many companies and individuals involved in our business to speak with a unified voice to represent the genre and to address the issues. And that is the mission of the Association For Electronic Music.

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PRS ALLIANCE WITH NORDICS ON MECHANICALS NOW FULLY LAUNCHED
An alliance between UK publishing rights collecting society PRS For Music and the Nordic Copyright Bureau, which represents the mechanical rights of publishers in the Nordic and Baltic region, has been named the Network Of Music Partners, or NMP.

The joint venture, a standalone entity headquartered in Copenhagen but with a base in London, is now handling so called recorded media royalties (so, royalties paid to publishers via the collective licensing system by labels releasing recordings of songs) in nine countries.

For PRS, which transferred some staff, IT and assets over to NMP last year, the new alliance provides access to new systems developed by NCB for the management of core mechanical royalties (which technically go through the MCPS side of the PRS operation in the UK). PRS says that - with the mechanical royalties revenue stream in decline as record sales slide - alliances such of this are a better way for the society to deliver efficiencies to its members.

NMP is now led by MD Karsten Dyhrberg Nielsen, who told CMU: "We're especially pleased with the success NMP has had in its first year. The company is providing an excellent and enhanced service to all of its customers, enabling consolidation, shared investment and reduced costs. 2013 will be the year for growth and we're actively talking to new partners to see what NMP can do for them".

Meanwhile, PRS CEO Robert Ashcroft, added: "In a declining physical market it is essential for us to work with a partner for recorded media processing. Updating our own infrastructure and systems independently would have been prohibitively expensive for our members. NMP has enabled us to improve our offering and deliver vital royalty money to our membership. We are now in a position to grow this business, rather than manage its decline".

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EVENTIM ALLIANCE WITH SMG EUROPE GOES LIVE
Eventim UK, the British division of ticketing firm CTS Eventim, has announced that a new partnership with arena and venue operators SMG Europe has gone live, with Eventim's ticketing system now operational in SMG arenas in Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds, and at the Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre in Newcastle and The Whitley Bay Playhouse.

Confirming the new alliance, SMG Europe MD John Sutherland told CMU: "The five year deal with Eventim brings a new focus to our ticketing services. The new platform allows us to respond quicker and more efficiently to the requirements of promoters and the general public. Eventim also has some exciting new ticketing initiatives in the pipeline".

Meanwhile Eventim UK's Nick Blackburn added: "During the lead up period to implementation we have reviewed business processes and further enhanced our state of the art technology. The relationship with SMG is very important to us and a real stepping stone in our determination to grow our business in the UK".

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RDIO ANNOUNCES FREE STREAMING OPTION IN UK
Rdio has announced this morning that new users in the UK (and elsewhere) will be able to use the service for free for up to six months, ad-free. Listening time will be limited to a set number of hours each month (how many Rdio isn't clear on) and mobile access is not included in the trial, though otherwise it will be pretty much the same as a basic paid account. The free option has been live in the US for some time, and, including the UK, this morning was rolled out to fourteen more countries.

Spotify has proven, of course, that some sort of freemium service is a great way to upsell premium packages. Despite introducing various listening limitations in the past, Spotify currently relies on ad irritations persuading free users to upgrade. Of course, with Rdio's albeit limited freemium offer being ad-free, some of those Spotify freemium users may be tempted to switch to the alternative freebie service in the short-term.

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MIDEM ANNOUNCEMENTS, WEBDOC, NOKIA, SAMSUNG, SOUNDROP
Hey, digital announcements from MIDEM fans, here's a round up of some digitally-focused announcements that have come out of Cannes in the last 48 hours. So grab yourself a ten euro mouthful of Evian, and consume this lot...

London-based start-up Webdoc, which provides social-media style tools for labels and artists, has rebranded as Urturn and announced a new service called Expression, designed to help users monitor and promote user-generated content from across the social networks. Says co-founder Vincent Borel: "Everyone was saying engagement is the new metric, but how do we measure engagement and how do we get artists engaged? We set out to measure content creation - who was creating content around a particular artist, around a particular topic, and getting the viral word-of-mouth out".

Next up, Nokia. You know, Nokia. Oh, come on, you remember Nokia. It was the cool option when a mobile purchase was "hmm, Motorola or Nokia". Had that really shit download service called Comes With Music? Ah yes, there you go. Well, the phone maker's latest play in the music space - in some markets - is Nokia Music, a free-to-use interactive-radio-style streaming service for Nokia Lumia owners. Well, now there's also Nokia Music+, a premium option which offers more track skipping, offline play and other gubbins. Says Nokia's VP Entertainment Jyrki Rosenberg: "By removing barriers like adverts and sign-ins, Nokia Music makes it easy for users to discover and enjoy music on the go. Nokia Music+ now provides increased control over the listening experience at half the cost of many third party services".

Next up is Samsung, which has revealed ambitions to make its previously reported Music Hub service - currently an enticement to buy the consumer electronics giant's devices - accessible beyond Samsung's own gadgets. According to The Next Web, which spoke to the company's TJ Kang ahead of his MIDEM appearance, Samsung recognises that consumers want to be able to access their music service of choice from multiple devices, and if their smartphone, tablet and laptop are all from different manufacturers, with just one a Samsung product, that makes Music Hub as it currently stands less attractive. It's early days on the device-expansion ambition so far, though with Music Hub accessible on certain Samsung phones via an Android app, presumably expanding the music service to other Android devices wouldn't be so tricky.

And finally, 'social listening' service Soundrop has launched a new Facebook app, meaning users will no longer need a Spotify account to use the service. The Facebook based 'rooms' - essentially collaborative playlists - will draw on YouTube and VEVO for music, though playlists, track voting and chat will also be mirrored within the existing Spotify app.

Soundrop CEO Inge Andre Sandvik told CMU: "We're excited to make Soundrop available in the main place where artists connect with their fans. Whether you want to use VEVO and YouTube or Spotify as your music service, Soundrop has you covered. We streamed more than 500 million tracks last year in Spotify, and now we're excited to help artists accelerate their video traffic by bringing our same addictive social music service to Facebook".

At launch, artists running 'rooms' via their Facebook pages include Owl City, Franz Ferdinand, Hot Chip, ABBA, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Devlin and Delphic, many of whom will be chatting to fans as they listen to their music in the next few days.

And that's enough MIDEM updates for now. My mouth's getting dry, and I can't justify another fifteen euro shot of cola.

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BIEBER SHARES ROMANTIC HEARTBREAK THROUGH LOVELY LYRICS
On-off-on-off pop pairing Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are now off, apparently. But worry not pop romance fans, because the Biebster has written a song for us all about his love for his ex. So that's something to look forward to.

Speaking about his split from Gomez, and the frequent media and online speculation about the couple, the pop star told Billboard: "I'm not in the happiest place that I've ever been. I'm trying to get through what I'm going through... I have my really close friends to cheer me up and keep me going... There's so many rumours. People say I call Selena every day and she won't pick up the phone or I'm chasing her down, and these are all fake stories. I don't go on blogs or anything like that [but] I hear things. People tell me if something happens on the Internet. It gets back to me, definitely".

Confirming that he'd written a new ballad about his ex, which you can listen to here, Bieber revealed that the track is called 'Nothing Like Us' and includes the lines "Gave you everything, Everything I had to give, girl, why would you push me away?" and the possibly short-sighted lyrics: "Nothing can ever, ever replace you, Nothing can make me feel like you do".

Talking of pop couplings, back in the UK, The Sun assures us One Direction's Zayn Malik has spent the night with his girlfriend, Little Mixer Perrie Edwards, despite the tab revealing his infidelities this weekend just gone. So that's nice.

1D don't really write their own songs, but perhaps one of their songwriting team could help Malik also express his recent romantic stresses through some beautiful lyrics. Maybe: "I shagged a waitress, while you were gigging in Hull, but now I'm back in bed with you, that's what makes you beautiful".

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